Solid fans and some forgettable final games
We’re going to keep the game-specific stuff to a minimum, if you don’t mind. Am sure there were three riveting points to make off last night but I’d have to really search the dark recesses of mind and I’m not sure I want to.
So, one big point and we’re off to the more, if that’s okay?
What to expect?
If there has been one very surprising part of this season it’s the way the HOTH have drawn at home.
Really surprising in a lot of ways: The season got off to a terrible start, the end wasn’t all that great until the last two weeks yet here they are, averaging 18,156 per game with 11 sellouts, more than they’ve had in years.
Don’t think they don’t notice, a point Dwane made quite vociferously after Tuesday’s game.
“With our season, we were disappointed as far as our record was concerned but our fans stuck with us. We’ve got some of the most passionate fans, that’s something Ilearend going to Toronto.
“It’s something you don’t see every day, the passion that the fans have. Win, lose or draw, they’re there.
“That’s something our players don’t take for granted and definitely I don’t take for granted. We appreciate it.”
Drawing those kinds of numbers for this kind of team is mightily impressive and it’s a credit to the people who show up.
I have no clue what your reception will be like for these guys tonight, though. That's sometimes the most fun part of the last game.
Now, for the fun stuff.
Heard this last night in Atlanta and I am certainly hoping we hear it tonight in Toronto and that those fans so worthy of praise know what to do.
Yes, it has to do with Boston but these days, a little solidarity with that bomb-racked city can’t hurt, can it?
So my Game Ops friends better play it, and you folks better sing it. Loudly.
I’m thinking either right off the bat, first timeout of the first quarter or at the break between the first and second quarters.
Don’t let me down, okay?
Can’t remember if I’ve ever linked a story written by someone else about a Canadian women’s basketball player but here’s how Kayla Alexander’s WNBA draft looked to chroniclers in San Antonio.
We are all, I believe, in agreement that Vin Scully is the gold standard by which all broadcasters should be measured. We’ve been over it so many times that it makes no sense to go into it again right now.
But in the race for second place, I think I might put Pat Summerall, who passed away yesterday and who was a broadcaster with dignity and class his entire career.
Understated elegance might be a way to put it, a perfect foil for the excitable John Madden in the broadcast booth.
I don’t remember him ever raising his voice, he certainly never got caught up in any measure of self-importance and he and Madden were, I’d say, the perfect pair.
Unlike some people, he didn’t the foil to Madden’s buffoon, he didn’t feed him lines but his mere presence made Madden’s mannerisms and comments easier to take.
Plus, Summerall had great, great pipes.
If I’m putting together the perfect broadcast team not only does it have to be two voices rather than three, it has to be someone dignified like Summerall to offset the audaciousness of the partner.
RIP, one of the best ever.
It being the last game of the regular season and all, a little stroll down memory lane – fuelled by a couple of post-game, decompression-helping Yeunglings and some deep fried cheese gets us to this:
Some Memorable Last Games
(In no particular order)
It’s the last game of the first year, against Philadelphia in the World’s Worst Basketball Arena and my dear, dear friend Phil Jasner and I are hanging out before the game.
He wants to go say hi to Brendan Malone because they knew each other and we wander into the locker room only to find Brendan diagramming plays on the white board.
“Hey Brendan, see you’re busy, I’ll come back after the game to catch up,” says Phil.
“No, let’s talk now, I’m getting fired after the game.”
And he did.
It’s Year 3, ending the 16-66 atrocity and poor Glen Grunwald gets booed unmercifully as he tries to apologize to the fans at midcourt in Maple Leaf Gardens.
We all feel bad for Glen, of course, but not as bad as we felt for the wives and families of players who were sitting in the family lounge when a giant rat ran right across the room.
Yeah, that made it easy to sell free agents on the team.
Ben Uzoh Night
It was like Tankapolooza a year ago when they finished at home against New Jersey.
At stake were a couple of vital ping-pong balls as it turned out and not only did the Raptors play less poorly than the Nets – and that’s saying something – we all had to re-write previously written stories to get in the fact that Ben Uzoh had a triple-double, first for the franchise in almost a decade.
Just more work than it should have been after having to sit through what might have been one of the worst basketball games ever played.
The First Lady Of The Beat and I are walking out of the Cleveland arena on the night that ended the 2002-03 season, the same night the Cavs changed logos and colour schemes to the current wine and gold because they new the lottery was fixed (I keed, I keed) and they could build around that LeBron James fellow.
Well, as we leave we notices boxes and boxes of t-shirts in the new colours and, being incorrigible as we are, we take a couple each. We giggled all the way to our stools until we realized we had to get up at the crack of dawn and drive back because the Raptors and Lenny Wilkens were going to “part ways” and there was work to do.
The next season, when they’re doing some other giveaway, the Cavs announce they’ll do it on some kind of wrist-band basis on the way out of the arena to combat the “theft” problem of the previous season.
We giggled again.
Ah, the good old days.
Okay, it’s a silly 8 p.m. start, see some of you then, right?